ePub 版

(Where live the innocent as far from cares
As from the storms and overwhelming waves
Dark tumbling on the surface of the deep),
Over the abysm, even to that uttermost cave
By mis-shaped prodigies beleaguered, such
As Earth ne'er bred, nor Air, nor the upper Sea.

There dwells the Fury Form, whose unheard name With eager eye, pale cheek, suspended breath, And lips half-opening with the dread of sound, Unsleeping SILEN ce guards, worn out with fear Lest haply escaping on some treacherous blast The fateful word let slip the Elements And frenzy Nature. Yet the wizard her, Armed with Torngarsuck's" power, the Spirit of Good, Forces to unchain the foodful progeny Of the Ocean stream.—Wild phantasies! yet wise, On the victorious goodness of high God

* They call the Good Spirit Torngarsuck. The other

great but malignant spirit is a nameless Female: she dwells under the sea in a great house, where she can detain in captivity all the animals of the ocean by her magic power. When a dearth befalls the Greenlanders, an Angekok or magician must undertake a journey thither. He passes through the kingdom of souls, over an horrible abyss into the Palace of this phantom, and by his enchantments causes the captive creatures

to ascend directly to the surface of the ocean. See CRAN 1z' Hist. of Greenland, vol. i. 206.

Teaching Reliance, and Medicinal Hope,
Till from Bethabra northward, heavenly Truth
With gradual steps winning her difficult way,
Transfer their rude Faith perfected and pure.

If there be Beings of higher class than Man, I deem no nobler province they possess, Than by disposal of apt circumstance To rear up Kingdoms: and the deeds they prompt, Distinguishing from mortal agency, They chuse their human ministers from such states As still the Epic Song half fears to name, Repelled from all the Minstrelsies that strike The Palace-Roof and sooth the Monarch's pride.

And such, perhaps, the Spirit, who (if words Witnessed by answering deeds may claim our Faith) Held commune with that warrior-maid of France Who scourged the Invader. From her infant days, With Wisdom, Mother of retired Thoughts, Her soul had dwelt; and she was quick to mark The good and evil thing, in human lore Undisciplined. For lowly was her Birth, And Heaven had doomed her early years to Toil That pure from Tyranny's least deed, herself Unfeared by Fellow-natures, she might wait

On the poor Labouring man with kindly looks,
And minister refreshment to the tired
Way-wanderer, when along the rough-hewn Bench
The sweltry man had stretched him, and aloft
Vacantly watched the rudely pictured board
Which on the Mulberry-bough with welcome creak
Swung to the pleasant breeze. Here, too, the Maid
Learnt more than Schools could teach: Man's shifting
His Vices and his Sorrows! And full oft
At Tales of cruel Wrong and strange Distress
Had wept and shivered. To the tottering Eld
Still as a Daughter would she run: she placed
His cold Limbs at the sunny Door, and loved
To hear him story, in his garrulous sort,
Of his eventful years, all come and gone.

So twenty seasons past. The Virgin's Form, Active and tall, nor Sloth nor Luxury Had shrunk or paled. Her front sublime and broad, Her flexile eye-brows wildly haired and low, And her full eye, now bright, now unillumed, Spake more than Woman's Thought; and all her face Was moulded to such Features as declared That Pity there had oft and strongly worked, And sometimes Indignation. Bold her mien,

And like an haughty Huntress of the woods
She moved: yet sure she was a gentle maid!
And in each motion her most innocent soul
Beamed forth so brightly, that who saw would say
Guilt was a thing impossible in her!
Nor idly would have said—for she had lived
In this bad World, as in a place of Tombs
And touched not the pollutions of the Dead.

"Twas the cold season when the Rustic's eye From the drear desolate whiteness of his fields Rolls for relief to watch the skiey tints And clouds slow-varying their huge imagery; When now, as she was wont, the healthful Maid Had left her pallet ere one beam of day Slanted the fog-smoke. She went forth alone Urged by the indwelling angel-guide, that oft, With dim inexplicable sympathies Disquieting the Heart, shapes out Man's course To the predoomed adventure. Now the ascent She climbs of that steep upland, on whose top The Pilgrim-Man, who long since eve had watched The alien shine of unconcerning Stars, Shouts to himself, there first the Abbey-lights Seen in Neufchatel's vale; now slopes adown The winding sheep-track valeward: when, behold

In the first entrance of the level road
An unattended Team The foremost horse
Lay with stretched limbs; the others, yet alive
But stiff and cold, stood motionless, their manes
Hoar with the frozen night-dews. Dismally
The dark-red dawn new glimmered; but its gleams
Disclosed no face of man. The maiden paused,
Then hailed who might be near. No voice replied.
From the thwart wain at length there reached her ear
A sound so feeble that it almost seemed
Distant: and feebly, with slow effort pushed,
A miserable man crept forth: his limbs
The silent frost had eat, scathing like fire.
Faint on the shafts he rested. She, mean time,
Saw crowded close beneath the coverture
A mother and her children—lifeless all,
Yet lovely not a lineament was marred—
Death had put on so slumber-like a form 1
It was a piteous sight; and one, a babe,
The crisp milk frozen on its innocent lips,
Lay on the woman's arm, its little hand
Stretched on her bosom.

Mutely questioning, The Maid gazed wildly at the living wretch. He, his head feebly turning, on the group

[ocr errors]
« 上一頁繼續 »